Requirements for the MS in Computer Science

NOTE: MS in CS degree requirements for students enrolled prior to fall 2004 are posted here

MSCS students must:

A. Complete 36 points of approved coursework with a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.

- 21 credits must be taken as standard CS classroom-based courses.

- An additional 6 credits must be either standard classroom-based CS courses; standard classroom courses in the Math Department; independent study with a full-time faculty supervisor in the Computer Science Department, excluding external internships; or master's thesis. Independent study and master's thesis require DGS approval.

- The remaining 9 credits may be any of the above, or may be: credits transferred from previous graduate study in Computer Science at another university; external internship; or relevant graduate courses in other departments at NYU. At most 6 credits of external internship may be taken. Transfer credits, relevant graduate courses and external internship require DGS approval.

B. Complete the three foundational courses, which are CSCI-GA 1170 Fundamental Algorithms; CSCI-GA 2110 Programming Languages and CSCI-GA 2250 Operating Systems, and achieve a B- (2.7) or better rolling GPA in the foundational courses attempted.

An MSCS student will remain in good standing only if he or she achieves a B- (2.7) or better rolling GPA in the foundational courses that have been attempted so far. The rolling GPA is the average GPA of the foundational courses taken so far. If a student does not satisfy this requirement, the student will be placed on probation. The student will have until the end of the following semester to restore himself or herself to good standing or will be terminated from the program.

A full-time MSCS student must successfully complete at least one of the three foundational courses within the first three courses taken and must successfully complete all three foundational courses within the first six courses taken.

A part-time MSCS student must successfully complete a foundational course as the first course taken and must successfully complete all three foundational courses within the first six courses taken.

On rare occasion, an entering MSCS student may be granted an exemption from one or more foundational courses. To obtain such an exemption, a student must meet with the DGS at the
beginning of the student's first semester at NYU. The student requesting an exemption must provide clear documentation showing that his or her previous coursework is the equivalent of the corresponding foundational course and, upon approval of the DGS, must pass a placement test at the start of the first semester. The placement test will be as challenging as the final exam in the corresponding course.

C. Pass one course in two of the following four designated application areas: computation for science and society; graphics; intelligent systems; and databases.

Computation for science and society includes courses on numerical methods and courses on applications of computation to the physical, biological, and social sciences.

Graphics includes courses on computer graphics, visualization, solid modeling, vision, multimedia, and animation.

Intelligent systems includes course on artificial intelligence, machine learning, data mining, and natural language processing.

Database includes courses on databases, distributed computing, and data mining.

Some courses can be counted in either of two areas. For example a student taking Computer Vision can count it either as an AI course or as a Graphics course (but not both).

D. Complete a designated capstone course with a grade of B (3.0) or better. Alternatively, subject to the requirements below and prior approval of the DGS, the student may complete a master's thesis or a capstone advanced lab.

Capstone courses will be identified each semester by the DGS. They require substantial programming effort and draw on key technical areas covered by the MS program. Examples of capstone courses include Advanced Computer Graphics, Advanced Database Systems, and Compiler Construction. A capstone course should be taken during the last year of studies.

A student may instead choose to write a master's thesis if the following conditions are satisfied: the student has a cumulative GPA of 3.75 after six courses; the student has completed all three foundational courses with at least a B+ in each; the student has found a full-time faculty member to serve as a thesis advisor; and the student has received approval from the DGS.

MS thesis work can count for up to six credits of master's coursework. The thesis must satisfy the following criteria: it must be original research or design/implementation; the work required must be equivalent to that of two regular MS courses; the thesis must result in a high-quality document of 30-50 pages or more; and the thesis must be read and approved by two full-time faculty members, one of whom is the advisor. At the discretion of the advisor and the DGS, the thesis may be published on the department web page.

The capstone advanced lab would be the work equivalent of an MS thesis.

Maintaining Good Standing

Students must maintain good standing throughout their studies. This involves: sustaining a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0 (B) each semester; successful completion of at least 66% (2/3) of all credits attempted and maintaining a rolling gpa of at leat 2.7 (B-) in the foundational courses. Students falling below this standard will be placed on probation and given until the following fall or spring semester to return to good standing or face possible termination from the MS program. Please note that the MS degree must be completed within 5 years.


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